Everything you wanted to know about Christianity
inside the Anglican Parish of the Otways church...
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Please join me each week for our reflections
of sermons conducted during our church service.
Plus, occasional splashes of humour and epiphanies!
With much Love and Blessings
Rev. Jenny Brandon
LIVING in a tourist town you notice the need people have to take photos and buy souvenirs to prove they have visited our little corner of the world. These accoutrements act as tangible proof of their experiences while touring.
This is an expression of the universal human need for the visible, the concrete, the tangible. So I think we can sympathise with Thomas when he declared that he would not believe the Lord had risen unless he actually touched him. He was merely echoing the human cry for certainty.
Nevertheless, where faith is concerned we have to go beyond this because here on earth there is no such thing as concrete proof about spiritual things beyond the experience of faith. If there was, faith itself would not be necessary.
hy did Thomas insist that he had to touch Jesus? Wasn’t seeing him enough? The common response to that question is he was only seeking proof that Jesus had truly returned to life. May be by touching his wounds Thomas would know for sure it really was Jesus. But I would like to suggest that Thomas needed to touch Jesus in order to be healed by Jesus. Throughout the gospels we see Jesus healing people through touch, some simply by touching just his robe.
In truth Thomas was the wounded one. His mind was darkened by doubt, and his heart was broken with grief. Even though these wounds were invisible, they were very real and very painful. But Jesus was able to see them and invited Thomas to touch him. It was he who touched Thomas’ wounds, and so made him whole and well again.
The Lord’s wounds help us to recognise our own wounds and to find healing for them. His wounds were the result of his love for us, they are indeed proof of that love and that he understands the pain we suffer.
The story of Thomas brings home to us that the Christian Faith is essentially faith in a Person who loves us – and has the wounds to proof it. That person is Jesus.
Faith doesn’t shield us from the hard knocks of life or death. Faith gives us bearings and enables us to live in a topsy-turvy world without getting lost or giving in to despair, because, as Christians, we live in the presence of another person who understands our pain, Jesus our Risen Lord.
Jesus said to Thomas:
Thomas, you believe in me because you have seen me and touched me. But blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe."
This was maybe a little dig at Thomas and his stubbornness but it was also meant as an encouragement to us who are asked to believe without being able to physically see or touch Jesus. Encouragement for you, his much loved children,to know that Jesus is with you,He understands you and the issues that you face. He invites you to 'touch' His wounds in order for your own wounds to be healed.
NB: Notes drawn from reading of John 20: 19-31
About the author
Rev. Jenny is an ordained Priest of the Anglican Diocese delivering services at Anglican Parish of the Otway churches every week.
With great depth of knowledge and a spiritual practice that shows she walks her talk and has taken her to the far reaches of N.T. Australia working with indigenous youth and elders.